Is it ok to lock a dog in a room?

Is it okay for you to leave your dog locked in a room? This is a common question, but the answer is not a simple one. Since every dog is different, what is right will vary. Some other factors that come into play are physical condition of your pet, their age, any anxiety, or separation issues- even the weather!

Additionally, how long is it okay to leave a dog alone? Before you make a habit to leave your dog alone, you should know what the veterinarians recommend and suggest for pet owners, but always take your own pet’s personality, preferences, and history into account, as well.  

Is it bad to lock a dog in a room? 

Dogs are social creatures and companion animals, so many of them do not like to be left alone. When you deprive your pet of human interaction or leave the dog alone, it can result in health repercussions for your dog as well as behavioral issues that may manifest in destructive ways. Plus, dogs get lonely when left alone for prolonged periods of time.

Some things to consider before you lock a dog in any room include these:

  • Make sure that your dog has no access to electrical outlets or cords and wires that they could chew and potentially get hurt with.
  • Choking risks are everywhere, from the trash to the furnishings. Try to maintain control over what is in the room to ensure they do not get ahold of something dangerous, like a human toy, packaging, or cosmetic items.
  • Food and water should always be provided in the room where you are containing your dog.
  • Make sure that your dog has warm and clean bedding.
  • Look around the room to ensure there is no loose or torn flooring, which dogs could chew and choke-on.
  • Make sure that your pet has adequate lighting, but no access to lamps or cords that they could get injured by.
  • There should be no access to the outside from the room where you are containing your pet. The risk of them getting out and running away is higher.

While it is not bad to lock your dog in a room for safety or containment, such as when there are workers at your home or during a bad storm, make sure that they will be comfortable there, in your absence. Always be on the lookout for potential mischief that your pet could get into!

Is it bad to lock a dog in a room at night?

It is not uncommon for pet owners to lock a dog in a specific, pet-friendly room at night, but before you do, again, check for potential hazards and trouble. Turn on some white noise, like a television, to keep them company and distract them. Experts recommend that you don’t leave adult dogs for more than 8-10 hours, but know that most will not be able to hold their bladder for that long.

Take them out before crating or containing them for the night and also as soon as you return or wake up. Dogs are adaptable and will learn to adjust to your schedule, however leaving dogs alone for prolonged periods can impact their health in negative ways, from hurting their bladder to making them sad and depressed.

Is it ok to leave my dog in the cage?

The cage, kennel, or crate is for the dog’s safety and comfort. It ensures they are safe from potential hazards in the home while you are out, and it provides a familiar, comforting shelter for them when they are anxious.

Make sure that the crate or kennel is the proper size and not too small; dogs should be able to stand up and turn around with no trouble. When housebreaking a puppy, avoid getting a crate that is too large; puppies may become confused when trying to potty train and have accidents inside their kennel.

Veterinarians recommend that dogs not be crated for more than four-to-five hours, on average, and they should always have access to food, water, and soft bedding when they are in their crates. Plus, dogs need to get out and get some exercise after being cooped up in a crate for a period of time.

How long can I leave my dog locked in a room?

This is where the situation becomes a bit vague: experts indicate that you should not leave an adult dog alone for more than 8-10 hours, but in some instances, this is simply too long. Dogs cannot hold their bladders that long, and it could cause issues with their housebreaking routine.

Furthermore, if you plan to leave your dog all day- or night- try to arrange for someone to check in, exercise, and engage with your pet. Consider also, these tactics to keep your pet socialized when you able to be home:

  • Enroll your dog in a doggy-daycare or day boarding. This will help socialize them and tire them out, too! Some facilities offer part-time or half-day service provision; call around and learn more.  
  • Hire a professional dog walker. Have a walker come by and pick up your pet for a rigorous walk and interaction as often as possible.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check in with your pet daily. Provide this person with some snacks that they can give to your pet as a reward until you return.
  • Pets are a big responsibility, it’s true. Try rearranging your day or schedule so that you can come home at lunchtime or break to check on your four-legged family member. It is a nice routine to get into, relaxing for you and relished by your pet.

If your dog is crated in the room, they will become stiff and need to get out and move around after a few hours, every day. This seems to point toward checking in on and tending to an adult dog every four hours, ideally. This is subject to individualization, however, as puppies should not be left this long unattended.

Also, some senior pets may require medication which warrants more frequent check-ins and less time spent alone. If you are truly a dog lover, the best answer to how long your dog can be left alone should be as little time possible!

How can I get my dog to be well behaved when I am not around?

When dogs are groomed and gradually adjusted to be left alone, they should adapt fine and be well behaved, for the most part. However, if a dog is anxious or lonely, they may resort to destructive or bothersome behaviors in your absence. For instance, some dogs will howl when left alone or when they miss their human. This is a manifestation of anxiety, so the goal should be to reduce this through preventative measures. Some other ways that lonely dogs may act out include:

  • Barking and vocalization.
  • Destruction of furniture.
  • Peeing or pooping on the floor, furniture, even the beds.
  • Getting into trash.
  • Digging and chewing- anything they have access to.

Acclimate your dog from an early age- if possible- to be left alone for short periods of time. Gradually increase the time, and gauge how they react with a webcam or camera. Also, it can help to exercise your dog before you leave; in many cases, your pet will nap while you are out. This helps them to relieve nervousness and tires them out a bit.

Always leave your pet well-supplied with food and water while you are away so they do not go looking for a bite to eat. Interactive toys that hold treats can be a great distraction and reward for your dog while they are home alone. Remember that your dog likes the comforting smell of their favorite humans; leave a blanket of piece of clothing for them to help ease their anxieties.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.